This doesn’t matter. This picture of me in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in Lunge, that this.
Really – this picture is probably not changing the world. It might inspire someone to keep practicing if they know that the asana is the result of repeated practice, but the benefits and purpose of asana go much deeper than its performance.
I remember that when I first started practicing yoga, I thought that being able to “do” the asanas was what really mattered and that the folks who could do the most extreme versions were the most “advanced”. From this paradigm, a 12-year-old gymnast would be more advanced than someone who had been practicing diligently for 50 years but was simply choosing not to contort.
As usual, I was wrong. The thing is, asana is not about performance. No one is paying to watch you do asana. In any case, my erroneous thinking kept me practicing long enough that I was able to experience aspects of asana practice that did matter.
So what does matter about asana?
- Asana can provide container for attention…and a reprieve for your habitual thoughts. Having your attention fully in your body means that it is probably no longer going through whatever unnecessary patterns it might default to.
- Feeling more comfortable in your body – asana practice can make you generally feel better in your body. Let’s take the splits as an example. Opening my back hip flexor has allowed me to stand more upright with greater ease. Keeping my chest broad helps me not slump. I could go on and on here, but I will let you google it for yourself.
- Therapeautic Benefits – Some asanas have very well known therapeautic benefits. One example is Viparitta Karani – many people find that putting their legs up the wall helps alleviate headaches, boost energy, and relieve lower back pain. If you just though Vipa-what?, check this out:
This is clearly not an exhaustive list, but are just some of the things that I have found the most useful.
Also, starting next week….if you click on the “This Week in Asana” Tab you will be able to see what I am teaching in class. Let’s practice together! 🙂
This also doesn’t matter.